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July 1, 1996
Surrender is a natural psychological process in the evolution of man at all levels. When man progresses, he is seeking for something. Normally he seeks for what he doesn’t have, for the next step from where he is. Very often he either has to overcome the stage where he is in order to move to the next one, or he has to shed what he is in order to achieve the next stage. An ignorant man who wants knowledge must first part with his ignorance so that knowledge can come to him. Technically we may say that ignorance is surrendered so that knowledge may come in. Unless the present level gives up its practices, it cannot go to the next higher level. The present level has a certain efficiency, but if we want to move up one level, it is necessarily an improvement over what we are. In the context of learning, the present fabric of learning has to be undone and redone at the next higher level.
In all the areas of evolution at the psychological level, surrender is an implied process. It can be seen in education, in the acquisition of culture, and in organising oneself. Any mental skill or psychological endowment can be attained only by giving up what one has in preference to what is much better.
In the context of yoga, we can also apply the concept of surrender. Yoga means union of the human with the Divine behind the human, or the Divine within the human. To achieve this union, surrender is the means. All that humanity has developed so far for its own functioning at the level of being human must be surrendered, and the original spiritual nature laid bare so that the soul can emerge.
What is surrender actually? Who is to surrender what to whom? When we say, ‘This is a bad habit in me, this forgetfulness; I must be alert and punctual,’ we recognise and surrender our bad habit and acquire a good one in its place. Forgetfulness is given up in favour of punctuality. The effort is taken by our will, which exercises itself by rejecting the unpunctual movements, and encouraging the alert movements to express.
There are three movements that go together. We aspire to unite with our soul, the inner Divine. At the same time this aspiration, which is a dynamic force, releases also all that is human in us, all the deficiencies of the mind, all the attachments of the heart, all the refractoriness of our vital emotions and the inertia of the physical body. All these aspects have to be rejected. In other words, they have to be given to the human will. As long as there is something to be rejected, the human will has to take effort. The aspiration combined with the rejection and followed by surrender will complete our yoga.
What does the human will actually surrender? In order to be a good and conscientious citizen, we must give up bad habits in favour of good habits. But for one who wants to unite with his soul, all habits have to be given up. Habit itself is a limiting movement, a dead movement. Therefore all habits have to go. Both bad and good habits have to be given up in favour of the higher consciousness within us, the inner Divine.
An unpunctual man is always late, and the punctual man always on time. The unpunctual man is despised by the society whereas the punctual man s appreciated. But how to give up this good habit? The mind has accepted the idea of punctuality and implements it. Punctuality does not belong to the level of the soul. It belongs to the mind. If you function from the mind, it is a mental act. But it is possible to offer the idea of punctuality to the inner Divine. Let the soul accept the idea. You will reach an appointment exactly at the right time, guided not by your mental ideal but by the inner Divine; not by the clock and the mind, but by the soul through inner means.
The usual conception of surrender is the small surrenders to the big. But when two equal things relate themselves, we say it is communion, identification or oneness. Behind each living being is the soul, the Divine spark. It is covered by the evolutionary part, the manifested part in evolution. Behind the manifestation is the pure soul. This spark can become aware of itself and go out to the spark behind another man or object. Normally when one man talks to another it is human talk. One mind meets another mind. If a person acts instead from the soul centre, his soul comes out and meets not the mind of the other man but the soul. Soul meeting soul is Oneness. The souls of all manifesting beings coming together and meeting in one plane of consciousness is called Spiritual Oneness. To arrive at this oneness in the yoga of an individual, the prerequisite is equality or equanimity. So long as the mind is disturbed or the emotions are attached, naturally the door will be closed. If one person hates another, the soul behind his mind hides behind the hatred, it cannot reach out beyond the hatred. Likewise if a person likes someone, his soul hides in the liking. His liking meets the other person’s liking. It becomes a mental or emotional liking. It is not a soul communion.
The mind must give up all its preferences, the emotions all their attachments, the vital impulses must surrender their needs and the physical give up all its inertia. Then the person can exist in equality. When the mental preferences, emotional attachments, vital impulses and physical inertia are renounced, that is the first step. If renunciation is complete, there is nothing to disturb the soul and it can emerge from inside.
When the mind moves with dynamism, it is generally called ambition. When the heart exercises itself vigorously, it gets into attachment. When the vital actively moves, we call it impulses or desires. When the physical moves we call it an act. When the soul moves, it is aspiration. When the inner being, the inner consciousness is active, the movement is called aspiration. When that aspiration is released, yoga begins. Once the aspiration is released and is coupled with rejection of the human parts and the movement of surrender – which means the mental will withdrawing itself from the field and allowing the Spirit to move -- the Divine consummation is given to the individual.
These are the three steps: Aspiration - Rejection - Surrender.